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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Around the NFC West: 49ers' offensive staff

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary fully supports offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye's play calling. I'd be surprised if Singletary publicly questioned Raye's approach without a compelling reason to do so. The team does need to continually re-evaluate its approach now that Alex Smith is the quarterback. And when Singletary explains the team's second-half approach against the Colts by saying the staff has not had much "exposure" to Smith, that does not sound like an acceptable reason. Smith has been there going on five years. Anyone following the 49ers closely should know what suits the player San Francisco drafted with the first overall choice of the 2005 draft. The 49ers' staff should certainly know what suits him.

Also from Maiocco: What's next for Nate Clements?

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' Joe Staley has never dealt with a significant injury before suffering sprains to his medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments Sunday.

Also from Barrows: Raye opened things up against the Colts, calling first-down pass plays most of the time.

Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News says injuries are starting to hurt the 49ers.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary can motivate, but can he coach?

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams' Steven Jackson is headed for an early retirement unless the team can upgrade its situation at quarterback and receiver. Miklasz: "The Rams should invest a premium 2010 draft pick in the quarterback position and get on with the future. There's no guarantee that Sam Bradford, Tony Pike, Jimmy Clausen, Jake Locker, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy or any other top QB prospect will turn into a franchise-altering starter in St. Louis. And though we've seen rookie quarterbacks -- Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco -- immediately step in and thrive, a growth period is the norm. And that maturation process can be difficult."

Also from Miklasz: a game ball for first-year coach Steve Spagnuolo.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Spagnuolo has heard from quite a few friends since the Rams' first victory of the season.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says cornerback Quincy Butler played well against the Lions in his first start as part of the base defense.

Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat checks in with Spagnuolo, who says the Rams cannot let down just because they won a game.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says coach Jim Mora left Matt Hasselbeck in the game after the outcome was decided because he didn't want to send the wrong message to his team.

Also from Farnsworth: How the Seahawks respond in practice Wednesday will say much about their team, Hasselbeck says.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times explores the sideline "conversation" between Hasselbeck and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Hasselbeck: "You're talking about on the sidelines where he looked all mad and stuff. That's just T.J. That conversation was about a pass we had had, but it wasn't like he was mad at me or I wasn't mad at him. Just kind of his demeanor. We've got an X Box room right in there where everyone plays X Box, and he yells at that TV far worse than he was yelling on the sidelines. I think that's something you have to understand about a teammate is that you've got to understand what works and what doesn't work. The perception certainly is that something bad was going on, so maybe we've got to worry about the perception, but there's no issue there between he and I at all. But we've got to complete more passes. That's a big issue."

Also from O'Neil: Mora circles the wagons, so to speak, in the Seattle locker room.

Art Thiel of seattlepi.com questions Mora's motivational tactics.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune questions what Deion Branch meant when he following a touchdown by saying into the camera, "Y'all come find me. Anybody want me, come find me."

John Morgan of Field Gulls looks at Sam Hurd's touchdown reception against the Seahawks. Morgan: "Why Seattle blitzed on third and two is beyond me."

Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals tight end Ben Patrick expects the team to start connecting on big plays in the passing game. Guard Deuce Lutui: "I think teams underestimated our passing game in the playoffs. But now that defenses are trying to slow us down, we've got to stay aggressive and keep mixing it up. We just have to jab, jab, jab and then bam -- knockout."

Also from McManamon: Fullback Jason Wright continued playing Sunday despite suffering a fractured thumb. The bone was sticking through the skin. McManamon: "During a punt return in the second quarter of Arizona's loss to Carolina, Wright's left hand was caught in the shoulder pads of a Panthers player he was trying to block. He felt something rip." Wright: "I looked down and my glove was (pointed) that way (at a right angle). I thought, 'Oh, that's not good.' "

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes injured Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin as saying he'll play Sunday if possible.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at the team's inability to strike downfield in the passing game this season.